Tag Archives: London

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh Book Review

One of the great things about fanfiction is that the writer has the opportunity to shine the spotlight on characters who the reader knows very little about in the original text.

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley, was published at the beginning of the year. The novel focuses on Anne de Bourgh. In Pride and Prejudice, Anne is the daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the cousin of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Supposedly sick from birth and engaged to her cousin, she fades into the background without the audience truly knowing who she is as a person.

The Anne we are introduced to in Greeley’s novel is not the quiet, retiring character that exists in Austen cannon. She is vivid, intelligent, and curious. But because her imperious mother continues to believe that her daughter is unwell, she is prevented from the experiences that she would have had otherwise. Finally gathering enough nerve to break with Lady Catherine, Anne flees to London, where is she welcomed by her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

When Anne’s strength has recovered, she begins to see what life can truly offer. But being that she has been locked away from society her entire life, she is unprepared for the not so polite underbelly of the season. This includes love with a person that she could have never expected. Anne must not only contend with forbidden romance, but with her mother, who is still determined to rein her daughter in.

I loved this book. This is how fanfiction is done. The balance between what the reader knows about Anne de Bourgh and where Greeley goes with the character is fantastic. I loved the LGBTQ twist that she adds, elevating what could be a predictable narrative into a story that the reader does not see coming.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fanfiction, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Cruella Movie Review

The question of nature vs. nurture is a tempting one to ask. Does our upbringing dictate who we are and what we believe? Or is it our perception of ourselves and the world around us?

Cruella was released yesterday on DisneyPlus. Estella/Cruella De Vil (played by Tipper Seifert-Cleveland as a child and Emma Stone as an adult) has been a rebel and an outcast since she was young. Raised by her single mother, she is left parentless at 12. Arriving in London with only her dog as a companion, she finds family in the form of thieves Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) and Jasper (Joel Fry). Ten years later, they have become a trio.

But Estella wants more out of life than petty thievery. She wants to be a fashion designer. Fate sends her the opportunity she is praying via the Baroness (Emma Thompson). The Baroness is the queen of the English fashion scene. She is also self centered and selfish. What starts out as a door opening to the job of her dreams turns Estella/Cruella into a version of the person she wants to destroy. The question is, can our heroine keep up with the image she has created while being true to herself or will she sell her soul in the process?

Cruella is one of the best films of 2021. It is so much fun to watch. The music (classic 1960’s and 1970’s tunes) is perfectly chosen. Both leading ladies are at the top of their game. The introduction to Thompson’s character is only bested by Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada.

What I loved is that this movie it proves that a female led movie does not require a romantic narrative to be successful. There are male characters who have a significant role in the narrative, but their relationships with the Baroness and Estella/Cruella are of a professional and/or plutonic nature.

Among the Disney prequels that have come out as of late, this is the best one. Though there is the argument of an easy cash grab, there are more than enough Easter eggs to keep fans of the original film happy. Expanded beyond the original narrative, it is a loving homage to its predecessor while standing on its own two feet.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Cruella is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Filed under DisneyPlus, Feminism, Movie Review, Movies, Music

Mary Poppins Returns Movie Review

The 1964 film, Mary Poppins is an unadulterated classic. Starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, the film (based on the books by P.L. Travers) has entertained multiple generations of fans.

The new film, Mary Poppins Returns, opened yesterday.

The sequel takes place in Depression era London. Jane and Michael Banks (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw) are now grown. Jane is single and works in the labor movement. Michael followed in his late father’s footsteps and works for the same bank that his father did. But life is not all that they hoped it would be. Michael is a recent widower with three young children. After the death of his wife, his financial issues started to become a problem. Then Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to their lives. With the help of Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Mary is more than a nanny to the newest generation of Banks children. Can Mary help them heal as a family and survive their troubles?

All I can say about this film is wow. It is fantastic. Emily Blunt’s performance as Mary Poppins is seamless and absolute perfection. While she pays homage to her predecessor, Blunt makes this character her own. For his part, Lin-Manuel Miranda is the perfect counterpart to Emily Blunt. His accent is also, well, a lot less questionable than Dick Van Dyke’s.

My favorite aspect of this film is that it appealed to both adults and children. It also has a message about resilience in the face of adversity and tragedy. There are also plenty of Easter eggs to please fans of the original film.

I absolutely recommend it.

Mary Poppins Returns is presently in theaters. 

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The Weight Of Ink Book Review

Human beings are human beings are human beings. Regardless of the era we live or the labels that define us, human nature is constant.

The novel, The Weight Of Ink, by Rachel Kadish, takes place in London in two different time periods: the late 17th century and modern times.

In a home originally built centuries ago, previously undiscovered manuscripts written by the Jewish scribe mysteriously known as Aleph are found. Helen Watts, a respected historian who specializes in Jewish history is called to examine the documents. Joining her is Aaron Levy, an American grad student who does not always see eye to eye with Helen.

In the 1660’s, Ester Velasquez is an orphaned young woman who is taken in by a Rabbi. He is blind and needs someone to write and read his correspondence.   Though it goes against tradition and custom, Ester becomes the Rabbi’s scribe. Neither Ester or the Rabbi know that they are in a race against time as the plague is about to take the lives of many of those who call London home.

The premise of the book sounded promising, as did the opening chapters. However, I found the narrative to be tedious at points. While I did finish the book, I was not quite sure how the story ended.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Sinful Scottish Laird Book Review

A good romance is hinged on the potential coming together of the lead characters. Without that potential, the story is dead in the water and the reader is uninterested.

In the new book, the Sinful Scottish Laird, by Julia London, Daisy Bristol, Lady Chadwick is in a bit of a bind. A widow for nearly three years, her late husband’s will is explicit. If she does not re-marry within three years of her husband’s passing, her fortune and her son’s inheritance will be lost. Sought out by every bachelor and fortune hunter in London, she travels to her Highlands estate to wait for her first love to return to her so they can marry.

Cailean Mackenzie, the Laird of Arrandale was not looking for love when he met Daisy. In fact, he wanted nothing to do with the Englishwoman, at least at first. Daisy is in lust, but Cailean is in denial that he is equally attracted to her. Then Daisy’s first love appears and Cailean must bite the bullet and fight for a woman and a future he now realizes he needs.

I’m not usually a fan of this genre, but this book is enjoyable and appealing. I like that Daisy is a strong-minded woman who has been through enough in life to make her own decisions. I also like that Cailean is just stubborn enough to fight his own desires until he realizes that he is giving up his future if he does not act quickly.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-The Very Thought Of You (1998)

There is nothing like friendship. Outside of our immediate families, our friends are the most important people in our lives.

That is until an attractive member of the opposite sex (or the same-sex, if you are so inclined) enters the picture.

In the 1998 movie, The Very Thought Of You, Frank (Rufus Sewell), Daniel (Tom Hollander) and Laurence (Joseph Fiennes) have been best friends since they were kids. Nothing has torn them apart. That is until they all meet and fall in love with Martha (Monica Potter) an American woman looking for a new life in London. Martha has no idea that these men are friends and neither Frank, Tom or Laurence have any idea that they have fallen for the same women.

This movie could have been the typical rom-com. But it’s not. The unique narrative stands out among the genre and proves that a rom-com can be entertaining without being predictable.

I recommend it.

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Second Thoughts- A Modern Persuasion Fanfiction

*-I don’t own these characters.

Second Thoughts

He knelt down on one knee, offering her the ring. She squealed, and then accepted his proposal and the ring. Both of their families were thrilled. The chapel and banquet hall were booked, the invitations were sent out and the guests confirmed. The menu was planned, the band booked and the gowns and tuxedos for the wedding party purchased. The wedding of Frederick Wentworth and Louisa Musgrove was three weeks away and seemed to be going along without a hitch.

That was, until the groom developed cold feet. Some might say it was normal; after all, it was not often that a man married, but Frederick Wentworth was developing cold feet for another reason.

He was in love with another woman.

Her name was Anne Eliot; they had dated briefly eight years ago and fell madly in love. He had proposed to her impetuously and she had accepted. But their joy was short lived; only a week later, she returned his ring, citing their age and lack of money.

He was heartbroken and swore he would forget her. But he didn’t.

Last year their paths crossed again. He had met Charles Musgrove at the gym and had been invited back to Charles’s house for the game. What Frederick did not anticipate was that Charles Musgrove was brother in law to Anne Eliot.

He also met Charles’s sisters, the twins, Louisa and Henrietta, who had just graduated from college.

Before he knew it, he found himself proposing marriage to Louisa, who eagerly accepted.

Now he was three weeks away from his wedding to a woman whom he did not love and did not know how to tell her.

At dinner, Louisa dropped a bomb on him.

“Anne won’t be at the wedding”.

“Why?” he suddenly dropped his fork

“Something about her thesis, a once in a lifetime opportunity, I don’t remember the details”.

The next day, Frederick learned the rest of the story from Charles.

“It’s true. She got an offer to study at Oxford, on a scholarship. She has to be in London in two weeks”.

When they were in college, Anne had majored in English. Now she was going for her doctorate, her specialty was Shakespeare, her goal, a college professor.  Before they broke up, she had spoken about studying in England one day.

His heart dropped, she probably thought the worst of him.  She was soon to be half a world away. A lifetime time ago, they had both been foolish. He would not make that mistake again.

That night, he knocked on Louisa’s door, hoping he could figure how to break up with her.

“Your in love with Anne” the words came out of her mouth before Frederick could say anything.

“How did you know?” his mouth hung open.

“I may be young, but I know when someone is in love. It’s ok, I, um actually have a confession of my own to make”.

Now it was her turn to confess.

“It just happened, your friend, James Benwick, we started talking, then we starting making out. I’m sorry, Freddy”.

“Do you like him?”.

“I do”.

“Then you should go for it”.

She took off the ring and handed it back to him. Now that barrier was crossed, he had another barrier to cross.

The next day, Frederick waited. He had hastily written her a letter and as soon as her mail had been delivered, he shoved in and waited.

“I cannot wait any longer, knowing that you will soon be on the other side of the Atlantic.  My heart is yours, it was always yours. Do not tell me that you have forgotten me, for I have never forgotten you.  I admit I was angry, foolish and prideful, but you were never far from my thoughts.  Everything I have done is for you alone, have you not seen that? If I let you go to London without telling you how I feel, I will never forgive myself.  Just tell me that the love we had is not dead, for I know that you are the only one I could ever spend my life with.

Freddy”

  She smiled the smile he had not seen in eight years. He got out of the car, feeling his heart beating. This was his last chance and he would not blow it.

“What about Louisa?”.

“I cannot marry her, I am in love with you. Besides, she likes Benwick”.

“You do realize that I will be in London in a few weeks, I don’t know when I will be returning”.

“Yes, I do. There is an opening at the London office. I’m going to ask my boss on Monday if he would be willing to let me relocate”.

“You would do that?” Her smile that he loved returned.

“I would go the ends of the earth for you, we can’t undo the past, but I want this, I want us for as long as we are on this earth”.

“I love you, Freddy, I want to be with you, I don’t care what my father thinks, what my aunt thinks or what anyone else thinks”.

She kissed him and he suddenly remembered how sweet she tasted, what it was like to be near her.

“Do you want to come up, I could make some coffee and we could order in?”.

She held out her hand to him and he took it.

They spend day in her apartment together, talking about the past and dreaming about the future.  As the sun rose the next morning, they slept on her couch, her head against his shoulder.

He could have woken up, after all, but looking at her sleeping next to him, this was all he ever needed and wanted.

 

The End

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Filed under Fanfiction, Jane Austen, Persuasion